“We can all truly #EmbraceEquity”: WISTA celebrates Women’s Day

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 02:22 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Heineken Lanka Finance Director Samanthi Kariyawasam, Great Place to Work Sri Lanka CEO Kshanika Ratnayaka, A.S. Moloobhoy MD Nafeesa Moloobhoy, Ceylon Biscuits CEO Nalin Karunaratne and Moderator Hayleys Energy Services DGM Aruni Wijepala at the panel

WISTA Sri Lanka President Diruni Chanmugam
Study on “Mind the gender gap in transport and logistics” made by Professor Lalith Edirisinghe on a project in partnership with ESCAP of the United Nations being presented to WISTA Sri Lanka President Diruni Chanmugam

Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Sri Lanka concluded yet another successful event held at Kingsbury Hotel to celebrate Women’s Day 2023 with an insightful panel discussion followed by networking and cocktails.

WISTA Sri Lanka President Diruni Chanmugam addressing the gathering, highlighted the importance of organisations taking initiatives with equality in mind with an aim of fostering equity at all levels in the maritime industry. She also emphasised the positive strides taken on improving gender parity over the years in the maritime and logistics sectors. 

Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Keith Bernard along with an elite list of invitees, WISTA members and other participants from a diverse range of industries attended the event.

The panel discussion themed “We can all truly #EmbraceEquity” with a challenging and thought-provoking session was moderated by Aruni Wijepala who is an Executive Committee Member of WISTA and is the Deputy General Manager of Hayleys Energy Services Lanka Ltd. An eminent panel consisting of A.S Moloobhoy Ltd. India Managing Director Nafeesa Moloobhoy, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. CEO Nalin Karunaratne, Great Place to Work Institute Sri Lanka CEO Kshanika Ratnayake, and Heineken Lanka Ltd. Director Finance Samanthi Kariyawasam, shared their success stories on how they were able to bring in equality and gender empowerment in their respective workplaces.

Nafeesa Moloobhoy travelled all the way from India to share her success story on building a business, navigating work, managing challenges in raising a family breaking all the gender barriers in a mail dominated industry was truly inspirational to the audience. Nalin Karunaratne speaking at the event shared the great strides made by Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. in empowering women in the rural sector to become entrepreneurs beating all odds. Kshanika Ratnayake shared great insights based on the many surveys carried out on best workplaces for women in Sri Lanka and highlighted some of the best practices adapted by such Institutions paving the way for women to thrive and build better careers. Samanthi Kariyawasam shared her inspiring story on challenges she faced and breaking all the myths and prejudices working in a beer manufacturing company.  

A highlight of the event was presenting highlights of a study on “Mind the gender gap in transport and logistics” made by Professor Lalith Edirisinghe on a project in partnership with ESCAP of the United Nations.         

The event was well-supported by SAGT as the Corporate Partner of WISTA, endorsed by Sri Lanka Ports Authority along with the sponsors Prudential Shipping Lines Ltd. as the Platinum Sponsor, CH Robinson as the Gold Sponsor, Advantis Marine and Energy Cluster, Colombo Logistics World Ltd. and Dankotuwa Porcelain Plc. who were the Silver Sponsors, CL Synergy Ltd., GFS Lanka Ltd. and IAS Holdings Ltd. who provided the Bronze Sponsorship and Daily FT as the Exclusive Media Sponsor. 

WISTA Sri Lanka has been able to carry out many such successful events in the past in keeping with its objectives of raising the profile of women in the maritime sector and working for gender balance in an industry still male dominated. WISTA as an association has worked tirelessly over the years to encourage women to take up careers in shipping and logistics whilst sharing knowledge, building skills and competencies as early as school entry level, creating forums for aspiring women to network, and be inspired. 

Pix by Upul Abayasekara